Thursday, January 22, 2009

Some interesting links

  1. Greg Mankiw links to a paper that estimates the economic benefit of college degrees. Economics is on top, with finance jobs way out in front.
  2. The worst review of the new BSG ever, written by the original Starbuck. My favorite line, which is in fact 100% wrong is: "In the new un-imagined, re-imagined world of “Battlestar Galactica” everything is female driven. The male characters, from Adama on down, are confused, weak and wracked with indecision, while the female characters are decisive, bold, angry as hell, puffing cigars (gasp!) and not about to take it any more."
  3. An interesting op-ed from NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof argues that sweatshops are a welcome reprieve from far worse work for many in developing countries. As the World Bank PSD blog points out, this is obviously a very controversial argument, and may be "setting up a false choice between scavenging and sweatshops and between free trade and labor standards".
  4. For all of those who are worried about adopting European health care systems, a recent paper sets out a very strong argument that we pay too much and get way too little, compared to Europe.
  5. Is Google the next stage in economic development agencies? PSD thinks so, and, based on my own expereince with development agencies, I say yes, please.
  6. Shanta Devarajan points out an interesting effect of the recent decline in commodity prices. Developing countries that just a year ago were at the top of the list in benefiting from higher prices are now at the bottom. The lesson is, relying on commodities for income makes your economy subject to a lot of variance.
  7. I'm taking my time thinking through the new paper by Pedro Dal Bó, Andrew Foster and Louis Putterman coming out soon in AER. They find that allowing people to democratically decide on a policy to improve cooperation improves cooperation even more than if the same policy had been imposed by the researchers. Is this evidence, as they indirectly suggest, that the participatory element in democracy actually makes people more willing to cooperate?

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